Hard times came in 1856 and 1857. Early development of the community suffered from grasshoppers and Indians. The grasshoppers devoured every green thing in sight. They came in July of '56 and remained until June '57.
George Bradford preempted land later owned by Kowalkes, Section 34. He told of a band of Indians who stopped a couple of ox teams that were taking supplies to Watertown, including a barrel of whiskey which the Indians took from the driver. A jolly old time they had drinking the firewater. This place was afterward known as Whiskey Creek. It is located between the old Stinson farm and Grandma Pearson's on the Watertown road.
Maple sugar making in the spring gave the settlers sugar and syrup. Maple trees were tapped for the sap which was boiled down to make the syrup, but most of it was made into sugar as they had few suitable containers for syrup. Sometimes they boiled sap all night. These were happy days when the settlers could use sugar freely to sweeten their coffee (often made of parched corn) and in their cranberry sauce. One family told of having only two pounds of coffee and three pounds of sugar the first year.
Gustavus Johnson settled on Section 35 in 1864. Amanda Johnson, his daughter, writes that he was called "Swede Johnson", as he was the first Swede to settle in Independence township. He came from Rockford, Illinois. The family of six came by boat up the Mississippi to St, Anthony. Leaving the family there he started out on foot to find his land in the Big Woods of Hennepin County. Stopping overnight at Minnetonka Mills, he started out at daybreak. He met a Union soldier, William Batdorf, father of the late W. S. Batdorf, whose home was only one-half mile from Johnson's land. He proceeded on his way arriving at Shrewsbury's farm May first. He returned for his family. They lived in a lean-to on the Shrewsbury's house until their log cabin was erected. The first Sunday he walked to Swede Lake south of Watertown to get milk for his children. This was about twenty-five miles round trip. He carried back two pails of milk. The next Sunday he went again. Later he bought a cow and two calves. These calves later became his first yoke of oxen. He broke them to a hand sleigh. He bought a pig from Jacob Clausen at Long Lake. The first winter was a test. There was no money to buy shoes. He cut a grain sack in two and filled it with hay and wore these on his feet when in the woods. He worked barehanded all winter. By spring he had cleared six acres of land.